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Who watches out for injured healthcare workers?

Doctors, nurses and other health professionals are not immune to illness and injury. Indeed, statistics show they face a greater need for workers' compensation than most industries.

Exposure to disease is a given in a clinic or hospital setting. Through the course of any given day, health workers are moving individuals or dealing with difficult patients. Workers should not have to fight for workers' compensation benefits, but sometimes it's required.

Injury statistics for healthcare workers

According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, healthcare and social assistance industry workers suffer more injuries than other occupations. That sector also regularly tops the Bureau of Labor Statistics list of industries ranked by nonfatal injuries and illnesses.

Breaking down the data by the numbers, here's what the BLS information says regarding the most common health care industry injuries:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders: This includes sprains and strains. It also includes injuries due to overexertion and repetitive stress from patient transfer tasks. These injuries represented 48 percent of the injuries recorded.
  • Slips and falls: These accounted for 25 percent of all hospital work injuries.
  • Contact with hazardous objects: Needlesticks represent a unique risk of working in the healthcare field. Thirteen percent of reported cases stemmed from this category.
  • Violence: Few fields are as fraught with the unexpected as healthcare. Patient violence accounted for 9 percent of days-away-from-work injuries.

The remaining 5 percent of injuries resulted from exposure to substances (4 percent) and other causes (1 percent).

Considering the importance of the work these professionals do and the risks they take every day makes clear that they deserve committed advocacy from experienced workers' compensation counsel when they are injured or ill.

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